Action: Remove pollutants from waste gases before they enter the environment
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One study evaluated the effects, on peatland vegetation, of removing pollutants from waste gases before release into the environment. The study was in bogs.
- Plant richness/diversity (1 study): One before-and-after study in bogs in Estonia reported that following installation of dust filters in industrial plants (along with a general reduction in emissions), the number of Sphagnum moss species increased but the total number of plant species decreased.
Atmospheric pollutants can be removed from waste gases (e.g. from industry or transport) before they enter the environment. Physical or electrostatic filters can trap dust and ash particles. Sulphur dioxide can be removed by spraying alkaline substances (such as seawater) into waste gases. Reducing emissions of atmospheric pollutants may prevent damage to peatland vegetation or allow it to recover.
Key peatland types for which this action may be appropriate: bogs, fens/fen meadows, tropical peat swamps.
Related action: clean waste water before it is released into the environment.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A before-and-after study in 1990–2007 in two raised bogs in Estonia (Paal et al. 2009) reported that after installing improved dust filters in industrial plants (along with a general reduction in emissions), total plant species richness decreased but Sphagnum moss species richness increased. These results were not tested for statistical significance. In the late 1980s/early 1990s, when bogs were polluted by calcium-rich ash, there were 91–123 plant species and nine Sphagnum species/0.1 ha. In 2007, after pollution was reduced, there were only 43–58 plant species but 14 Sphagnum species/0.1 ha. Throughout the 1990s, emissions of calcium-rich ash fell by 80%, partly through fitting improved dust filters but partly through reduced industrial activity. The study does not distinguish between the effects of these changes. In 2007, plant species were recorded in a 0.1 ha plot in each bog. Species richness was compared to published records from the late 1980s/early 1990s.